Saints News | New Orleans Saints |

Presented by

New Orleans Saints receiver Marquez Callaway embracing No. 1

'I've got to make a name for myself, and I feel comfortable in that 1'

The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 12 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center

For Marquez Callaway, it was an easy request because it was the logical choice.

The New Orleans Saints receiver saw the chance to change jersey numbers, from 12 to 1 during training camp, and he pounced on it.

"I was always 1," Callaway said. "In high school I was No. 1, in college I was No. 1. So if I had a chance to get No. 1, I was going to do what I could to get it. Thankfully, they changed the rule and I put in my request and things worked out, so they let me get No. 1."

Of course, there's a certain expectation, or responsibility – or both – that goes along with wearing the "keep your eyes on me" number.

Fans watch No. 1. Opponents target No. 1. Teammates count on No. 1. And No. 1 does the things necessary to be watched, targeted and counted on.

"Trust me, they've been telling me – defense, offense, they've been telling me – I got that 1, so something's gotta happen," Callaway said, smiling.

"You've got to embrace it. I love 1 with a passion. No. 12, I said it when I posted (on social media), 12 is special to me and it holds a lot of weight around here. Some liked that I had it, some didn't like that I had it. But this is me. I've got to make a name for myself, and I feel comfortable in that 1."

In Saints history, No. 12 is linked to receiver Marques Colston, a seventh-round pick in 2006 who went on to become the most productive receiver in franchise history, with team records in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759) and receiving touchdowns (72).

Callaway, with 213 yards on 21 catches as a rookie last season, knows he has work to do in the name-making department. But so far in training camp, the undrafted player has shown up substantially. He's had to; Michael Thomas had ankle surgery in June and will miss the start of the regular season, Tre'Quan Smith has been injured and hasn't practiced since Aug. 3 and Emmanuel Sanders was released in the offseason.

Callaway, with 11 games and three starts on his resume, is the receiver with the most production as a Saint on the practice field. As such, in one-on-ones, he's often been matched against Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore. And he's doing it while he still is learning on the job.

"I just think everybody is here for a reason," he said. "Everybody's here to show what we can do. Even though this is Year 2, I still feel like the young guy. But they don't care (that) you're young. Coaches don't care – they know if you can play, you're going to play. Opponents, they definitely don't care; they've got a job to do, we've got a job to do.

"That's what we try to instill in everybody. Like, even though we're young, we need you to come along because with all the injuries happening, you never know what's going to happen, so you've got to be prepared."

The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 12 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center

The preparation begins in the meeting rooms, Callaway said.

"There's definitely knowledge in the room, especially when we added Chris (Hogan)," he said. "Chris pretty much knows the offense already. LJ (Lil'Jordan Humphrey) is very versatile, he talks to the young guys all the time. I still ask him questions, he knows the playbook just about as good as anybody else. And Deonte (Harris), he always gives his input on me and the young guys. We all try to play interchangeably, and we all try to tell the young guys, the more you know, the better.

"I think (my knowledge) increases every day. I'm still learning, still trying to learn it better, trying to learn it like the back of my hand. But even if I don't understand something, quarterbacks are there, the receivers are always there. So even if I don't feel comfortable asking a coach, I can always ask Deonte, ask Tre'Quan, LJ, even Chris now. I ask them the coverages, ask them what they're thinking, (tell them) what I'm thinking and then we settle it right then. There's always room to learn."

One more thing Callaway soon will learn, is how much it will cost him to change numbers. While the NFL allowed players to change numbers this year, the stipulation for doing so is that all the league's inventory bearing that number has to be bought out. If the number notification was made this year but the change didn't occur until next year, it could be done without the financial stipulation.

Callaway, as an undrafted rookie, likely didn't have hundreds of 12s in stock. However many there are, though, he's ready to pick them up when the league calls.

"Not yet," he said when asked if he's had to write the check. "But I think it's going to come. I know it's going to come. I'm just preparing myself for it, but I'll take it."

Related Content